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Bird flu returns to India

Eight months after India reported its last case of bird flu in poultry, and just 2 months after India declared itself free of the deadly H5N1 virus, avian influenza has returned.

Samples of dead birds picked up from West Bengal's Murshidabad district have tested positive for H5N1 infection at the High Security Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in Bhopal, reports The Times of India.

Teams are being deployed to cull all birds in and around the infected villages - in a 3 km radius of Hazrabati and Nagar areas of Khargram block.

Murshidabad district magistrate Parwez Ahmad Siddiqui expects to finish the culling drive in 3 days.

India had done well to contain the H5N1 virus and on October 26, had informed WHO for Animal Health that it was free from avian influenza. The last outbreak of avian influenza was notified on May 27 in Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal.

Natalie Berkhout

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